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You came all the way to Raja Ampat for its justifiably lauded marine park. But that doesn’t mean you have to rough it on this archipelago in West Papua, Indonesia. The luxury hotel scene here embraces dinky eco-bungalows and overwater homestays – meaning you can snorkel or dive in one of the most stunning underwater environments in the world, before retreating to a luxe lodging that works with the natural beauty of the area. Here are the pick of the bunch.
Cove Eco Resort is probably the closest you’ll get to your own private island. The iconic property is perched on the pristine shores of Yeben Island, which is remote even by Raja Ampat standards. Nevertheless, an on-site dive centre means getting among the local sea life is a breeze. And you can wind down by strolling the private beach and gardens, before dinner at the fusion restaurant.
This dive resort occupies one of the most beautiful spots on Waigeo Island, the largest in the Papuan archipelago. The seemingly humble façade and wooden decor doesn’t mean a drop in standards – there are air-conditioned rooms, a luxury in developing Raja Ampat, relaxing massages and a fine Indonesian restaurant.
Papau Paradise has a distinct mixture of energy and tranquillity, which serves you well for fun days on the water and wind-down afternoons in the airy waterfront bungalows. The simple interiors and lavish facilities are more than enough to make you feel at home, complemented by a high standard of service. Each bungalow has a private balcony where you can laze in a hammock or daybed with an ocean view.
An ideal position in a horseshoe lagoon on Misool Island is a luxury in itself. And, surrounded by the stunning shoreline where clear white and blue meet, you can enjoy idyllic beauty from the balcony of your private villa. Beyond the luxurious and comfortable wooden huts, Misool Eco Resort is an exclusive diving hub with various water activities. While for the hours you feel like lazing around there are traditional spa treatments and on-site activities to enjoy.
Raja Ampat Dive Resort is excellent for those who take comfort seriously. Stunning wooden bungalows are perched on the sea, overlooking endless shades of blues, with a private terrace and stairs descending into the ocean. The open, airy interior induces a sense of tranquillity, while also providing everything you need for a comfortable stay. This resort also has a dive centre catering for beginners and pros.
The eco-friendly approach at Papua Explorers does not make this resort any less luxurious. The airy bungalows are built in a traditional Papuan style, although they do come with modern comforts and amenities. There’s an enticing over-water restaurant on stilts, plus an open-air spa with massage tables. The hotel team can also arrange special trips and adventures, such as hiking, birdwatching and more.
The cottages and bungalows at Sorido Bay not only boast stunning sea views, they also pay homage to the local culture through traditional building styles and decor. A stay here means getting into nature, whether that’s a dive at Manta Point – a cleaning station for giant rays – or a sunset birdwatching cruise to see the red bird-of-paradise, hornbills and parrots. Unwind with a traditional massage at the on-site spa.
The Culture Trip Travel Team contributed additional reporting to this article.